"Sound of Freedom" is a powerful and moving film that is not for the faint-hearted. Set to release on July 4, 2023, this American action film directed and co-written by Alejandro Monteverde is based on the real-life experiences of Tim Ballard, a former U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent who became a vigilante dedicated to rescuing children from cartels and human traffickers in Latin America.
The film's distribution journey is as compelling as the story itself. After being shelved by Walt Disney Pictures, the rights were finally acquired by Angel Studios, who used innovative strategies, such as equity crowdfunding, to bring this important film to audiences worldwide.
ForAmerica spoke with heads of Angel Studios, the Harmon brothers, about the film, they said, “we didn’t choose to tell this story. This has been a project 8 years in the making. It’s gone through a tumultuous path of getting to the finish line, getting out to the world, but it was really the filmmakers and Tim Ballard who lived this life and chose to tell this story.”
Angel Studios then presented the idea to the Angel Guild – their group of supporters that is over 100,000 members strong. The Guild “came back with such a resounding ‘yes,’” said Harmon, citing this as the reason Angel Studios poured all of their resources behind bringing “Sound of Freedom” to the big screen.
“Anybody can empathize and understand… that God wants his children to be free, and he wants them to have their agency – that’s why he gave it to them – and so, we’re grateful to get this story out to the world.”
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
“Sound of Freedom” follows Tim Ballard (Jim Caviezel) as he battles the horrifying realities of child trafficking. Caviezel delivers a profoundly thoughtful, often painful performance, reflecting the desperation and determination of a man working tirelessly against the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise.
ForAmerica spoke with Tim Ballard, who spent 12 years in the US government before quitting due to bureaucratic restrictions that were preventing him from carrying out a rescue mission in Colombia, which is portrayed in the film.
Ballard recalls the “wild ride” from quitting his role in the US Department of Homeland Security, to going into dangerous areas of South America “without the type of cover [Ballard] would like, and the success that we had in rescuing children.”
As our audience knows, ForAmerica has been championing conservative policies – specifically border security – for quite some time. We asked Tim Ballard about his experience working for the government, and what Congress, the US government as a whole, or even individuals could do to help end human trafficking once and for all.
“First, I’ll say this: I’m proud of the US government in this way. The fact that I left wasn’t some kind of protest – our closest partners in this fight are the agency that I came from – Homeland Security investigations… but even they would agree, we need to prioritize child crimes way more than it’s being prioritized.” He continued, "there are 5 drug agents for every anti-child trafficking agents. That’s all backwards. The fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world is human trafficking. $150 billion a year are made off the backs of men, women, and children – slaves – 6 million of those are children being forced into sex, labor, and organ harvesting. We can’t sit back and pretend it’s not a thing.”
He went on to note that this issue isn’t ‘far, far away,” in fact, the United States is the largest consumer of child sex material. He added, “we also have a southern border that’s just permitting [this to happen].” Saying, “if you understand the economy: if it’s true that [the United States] is the #1 consumer of child sex – guess what the traffickers want? Kids into the United States.”
Ballard opined on the immigration crisis, adding that in his opinion, “our taxpayer dollars are literally going to the last leg of a trafficking event. This is massive. We are culpable, this nation, yet most people just don’t know it.”
Ballard hopes that his story, “Sound of Freedom,” can wake people up to human trafficking and help put a stop the atrocity that occurs worldwide – including the United States’ southern border. He didn’t mince words when it came to Biden’s broken border, saying,
"our policies literally are the wind in the sails of human traffickers and child predators.”
The true heart of the movie lies in the experiences of the young siblings portrayed in the film, Miguel and Rocío, played by Lucás Ávila and Cristal Aparico. The innocence and vulnerability of these characters will undoubtedly bring audiences to tears. Their journey, from being taken under the guise of a talent audition, to their harrowing experiences in Mexico, paints a terrifying picture of the reality faced by countless children worldwide.
The film shines a light on the worldwide problem of human trafficking and exposes the harsh reality that millions of children suffer through every year.
The film also incorporates real footage of children being abducted, a haunting choice that serves as a stark reminder of the horrifying reality of child trafficking.
Other notable performances include José Zúñiga as the children's father, Roberto, and Bill Camp as Batman, a former mafia boss who assists Ballard in his mission. These performances, along with Caviezel's portrayal of Ballard, contribute to the film's raw and emotional impact.
The third act is particularly gripping, with Ballard going undercover as a United Nations medical worker to infiltrate the gang that bought Rocío. The tension reaches its peak in a climactic escape scene, where Ballard manages to rescue Rocío under the cover of darkness while evading gunfire.
"Sound of Freedom" is a thought-provoking film that shines a light on the grim realities of child trafficking. While its story is heavy and the scenes often distressing, it is an important narrative that needs to be told. It serves as a potent reminder of the ongoing fight against child trafficking and the brave individuals like Ballard who dedicate their lives to combating this heinous crime.
The film is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the relentless pursuit of justice. It's a chilling yet inspirational story that will leave viewers with a lasting impact. Caviezel was right when he stated that this was the second most important film he has ever done, ranking it behind his role as Jesus Christ in "The Passion of the Christ".
"Sound of Freedom" is a must-watch film. It's a poignant reminder of the horrifying reality of child trafficking and a tribute to those brave enough to fight against it. This is not a movie to be missed.
Tim Ballard ended his interview with ForAmerica with his one message to America: “There are 2 million children currently forced into commercial sex. On July 4, we want 2 million butts in seats, watching this movie in theaters representing each and every one of those 2 million kids. Go to Angel.com/SOF – be there July 4, we want 10 million people there.”
Please note that this film may not be suitable for all audiences as it covers sensitive issues like child sex abuse. Viewer discretion is advised.